Muhlenberg College

Muhlenberg College is a private liberal arts college in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is named for Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the German patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America.

Muhlenberg College
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Religious affiliation
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Endowment$263 million (2017)[1]
PresidentKathleen Harring (interim)
Academic staff
171 FT
123 PT
Undergraduates2,225 students
(43% men, 57% women)
Location, ,
United States

40°35′51″N 75°30′36″W
ColorsCardinal Red and Gray
AthleticsNCAA Division III
Centennial Conference, ECAC
AffiliationsAnnapolis Group
MascotThe Mule


Muhlenberg College was initially established in 1848 as the Allentown Seminary by Reverend Samuel K. Brobst, a Reformed Lutheran minister. Reverend Christian Rudolph Kessler was the school's first teacher and administrator.[2] Between 1848 and 1867, the entity that is today Muhlenberg College operated as the Allentown Seminary, the Allentown Collegiate and Military Institute and the Allentown Collegiate Institute.[3] In 1867, the college moved into Trout Hall,[4] the former mansion of William Allen's son, James Allen, and was renamed after Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America. Muhlenberg's great-grandson, Reverend Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, served as president of the college from 1867 to 1876.[3] In 1905, the college purchased and relocated to a 51-acre (21 ha) tract located in Allentown's West End, the site of today's campus.[4]

In 1910, seeing a need for evening study in the community, Muhlenberg College began offering courses through a "Saturday School for Teachers".[5] The offerings for adult education outside of the traditional baccalaureate track evolved over the years through various titles including an "Extension" school, and in 2002 Muhlenberg opened The W. Clarke Wescoe School of Professional Studies.[5]


Muhlenberg's current 82-acre (33 ha) campus is located in a residential neighborhood in Allentown's West End. The campus includes numerous buildings with distinctive traditional European/Protestant red doors laid out on several college quads. The central part of the park-like campus is the college green, which incorporates public art including Victor's Lament by Mark di Suvero.[6]

"Academic Row" runs the length of the main college quadrangle and is classically centered on the landmark Library Building, now the Haas College Center, which was built between 1926 and 1929. The Miller Tower, the distinctive dome and tower which sits on top of the Haas College Center, was inspired by Oxford University's Christopher Wren-designed Tom Tower. It is named for David A. Miller (Class of 1894), founder of Allentown's The Morning Call newspaper.[4] Muhlenberg's Polling Institute teams with the Allentown Morning Call to publish surveys of preferences and trends among Pennsylvanians, especially in the Lehigh Valley.[7]

In 1988, the college opened the Harry C. Trexler library, named for local industrialist Harry Clay Trexler.[4] The library houses over 310,000 volumes and 360,000 microforms on-campus, and has access to over 1.75 million books via interlibrary loan. It serves as a Federal Depository Library.[8] Neighboring the Trexler Library is the Philip Johnson designed Baker Center for the Arts[9] which houses the Martin Art Gallery. The Martin Art Gallery has a permanent collection of over 3,000 works of art and holds frequent exhibitions of pieces by student, regional, and international artists.[10]

In August, 2004, the Life Sports Center expanded by 39,000 sq. ft. including an indoor field house, gym, cafe, health classrooms and pool. In 2007, a new science building and additional residence halls were completed. In 2010, Muhlenberg College expanded their Seegers Student Union, which included expanded dining facilities which are frequently rated as having some of the best campus food in the country.[11]

In addition to the main campus, Muhlenberg maintains the 60-acre (24 ha) Lee and Virginia Graver Arboretum approximately 25 miles away in Bushkill Township, and Raker Wildlife Preserve, a 40-acre (16 ha) wildlife sanctuary 15 miles away in Germansville.[12]



Muhlenberg College offers bachelor's degrees with an academic focus on a rounded Liberal Arts education as well as pre-professional studies. Approximately 85% of faculty have a Ph.D or other terminal degree in their respective fields.[13] The Student to Faculty Ratio is 11:1 as of 2018. The college maintains chapters of over 15 national Greek Academic Honor Societies. Bachelor's degree programs for returning adult students are offered through the Wescoe School of Continuing Education.

The college offers an accelerated programs, cross-registration between disciplines, double major, honors program, independent study, internships, Army ROTC, student-designed major, over 160 study abroad programs, teacher certification, visiting/exchange student program and a Washington semester. Program offerings are: Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences. The Natural Sciences includes physics, chemistry, biological science, mathematics.

Admissions and rankings

About one-third (32%) of applicants were offered admission for the 2016–2017 academic year. About four-in-ten (44%) of the students accepted for the 2013–2014 freshman class were in the top 10% of their high school/prep school graduating class, 69% in the top 20% of their graduating class, and 81% in the top 30%. Three-quarters (75%) of the freshman class receive some sort of financial aid. Muhlenberg is primarily a regional college, with 72% of incoming freshmen coming from New Jersey, Pennsylvania or New York. However, Muhlenberg does receive a variety of applicants with admissions granted from the West Coast, including students from California, Oregon, and Arizona.[14]

In its 2020 rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked the college #72 among national liberal arts colleges.[15] Forbes Magazine also ranked Muhlenberg #68 on their list of the best liberal arts colleges in the United States.[16] In addition, Princeton Review lists Muhlenberg as one of the best colleges in the northeast, out of a total number of 218 chosen schools, and as of 2016, the college's theatre program was ranked #1 in the nation,[17] its food #16 in the nation,[18] and the college was chosen as one of the "Top 286 Green Colleges" in the country in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council.[19] Muhlenberg College was also named as one of the Lehigh Valley's Top Workplaces in 2013.[20]

University rankings
Forbes[21] 174
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[22] 72
Washington Monthly[23] 90

Student life

There are more than 100 clubs and organizations on campus. In addition, the Muhlenberg Activity Council (MAC) is responsible for bringing events and activities to campus. The college arranges off-campus community service opportunities, as well as intramural and club sports for students. The performing arts are represented on-campus through various theatre, dance and music programs.

The college's official student-run print publication is The Muhlenberg Weekly. Established in 1883, the paper is published every week while school is in session. The Muhlenberg Advocate, an online, twice-monthly publication, not affiliated with the college, was established in 2000; it has since ceased publication. The student-run radio station, WMUH, is operated year-round by both students and volunteers from the surrounding Lehigh Valley community, and is available to be streamed online from anywhere.

There are five sororities affiliated with the college: Phi Mu, Phi Sigma Sigma, Delta Zeta, Alpha Chi Omega, and Theta Nu Xi, and five fraternities: Zeta Beta Tau, Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Kappa Tau[24], Delta Tau Delta, and Alpha Epsilon Pi. College rules stipulate that students may not pledge to join a Greek organization until their sophomore year. There is also Kappa Kappa Psi, a band service fraternity, as well as Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity; both of these can be pledged as freshman.


Muhlenberg, an NCAA Division III school, participates in 22 intercollegiate sports and competes in the Centennial Conference[25] as well as the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The college also has club teams in ultimate frisbee and women's rugby union.

Both men's and women's teams exist for: basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and track and field. In addition, there are men's teams in baseball, football, and wrestling; women have teams for softball, field hockey and volleyball.

In 2004, additional athletic facilities were built west of the field house. Updated tennis courts were built in 2003, as well as two fields in 1998 and 1997 respectively. The baseball and softball teams do not have on-campus facilities.


Football was Muhlenberg's first official varsity sport, beginning in 1900. Doggie Julian was the head football coach at Muhlenberg from 1936-1944, with a record of 56–49–2. Julian was also the head basketball coach during this time, and was the head baseball coach from 1942-1944. In 1946, Ben Schwartzwalder became head football coach[26] and in his first year guided the Mules to a 9–1 record[27] and a national championship, defeating St. Bonaventure in the Tobacco Bowl.[27] The following year, Schwartzwalder again led the Mules to a 9–1 record, with the only loss coming by one point to Temple. However, the Mules declined an invitation to the Tangerine Bowl.[28]

After Schwartzwalder departed for Syracuse in 1949, the Mules fell off the national radar until the hiring of Mike Donnelly in 1997. Despite a rough 1–9 inaugural campaign, Donnelly quickly got the team turned around. From 2000–2004, the Mules won five straight Centennial Conference championships,[29] and thus, earned five straight postseason berths. In 2007, the Mules again won the Centennial Conference, and received another berth in the NCAA playoffs, winning their first-round game before falling in the second round. Donnelly took his team back to the playoffs by winning the Centennial Conference again in 2008, where they fell in the first round, and again in 2010, with the same result.

Since the 2000 season, Muhlenberg has compiled a 66–28 overall record in the Centennial Conference, second best among all active and former members behind only Johns Hopkins University. The Muhlenberg football team have been Centennial Conference Champions 7 times in the 2000s.[30]

Notable people

See also


  1. "Annual report" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  2. W.W.H. Davis. "History Of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Vol. II, Chapter XXVI, Schools And Education". Retrieved 2008-06-13.
  3. "Colby VP Randy Helm Named President Of Muhlenberg College". Muhlenberg College. Archived from the original on 2003-04-01. Retrieved 2008-06-13.
  4. Lindsey Aspinall. "The history of Haas College Center". The Muhlenberg Weekly. Archived from the original on 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-06-13.
  5. 100 Years of Adult Education at Muhlenberg College. Allentown, Pa.: Muhlenberg College. 2010. p. 12.
  6. "Victor's Lament - Muhlenberg College".
  7. "Surveys - Muhlenberg College".
  8. "Page Not Found". Archived from the original on 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  9. "Muhlenberg College - Baker Center for the Arts". VisitPA - #visitPA.
  10. "About the Martin Art Gallery - Muhlenberg College".
  11. "Best Campus Food - The Princeton Review".
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-17. Retrieved 2013-01-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. "Muhlenberg at a Glance".
  14. "'Berg at a Glance". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  15. "2019 Best National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  16. "Forbes America's Top Colleges: Muhlenberg College". Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  17. "Princeton Review: Muhlenberg College". Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  18. "Princeton Review: Muhlenberg College". Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  19. "Princeton Review: Muhlenberg College". Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  20. Kraus, Scott (March 4, 2013). "Muhlenberg College named Top Workplace". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  21. "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  22. "Best Colleges 2020: National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  23. "2019 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  24. "Fraternity Expansion Planned for 2019-2020 Academic Year". Muhlenberg College. Muhlenberg College. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  25. "Baseball". Centennial Conference.
  26. Muhlenberg College (12 October 2018). The Muhlenberg Weekly (March 1945 - Feb.1946) via Internet Archive.
  27. Muhlenberg College (12 October 2018). The Muhlenberg Weekly (1946-1947) via Internet Archive.
  28. Muhlenberg College (12 October 2018). The Muhlenberg Weekly (1947-1948) via Internet Archive.
  29. "Centennial Conference" (PDF). Centennial Conference.
  30. "Newsletter". 2015. Retrieved 2019-05-15.

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